A Poet in the House

Friends, I want to share with you a lovely blog post by the poet Jessica Garratt, a former student of mine as well as a fellow Fellow at the McCullers Center in Columbus, Georgia (don't you love it when those we root for root and bloom?).  Jessica is the first poet to have been selected for a residency at the McCullers House, the childhood home of Carson McCullers and the birthplace of some of her best work, including The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and The Member of the Wedding.  Jessica writes eloquently about the latter novel, as well as shedding some light on what it feels like to take up a residency that is both solitary and surrounded:

When I wrote each day, I opted not to sit at the big desk in my office, or at the smaller desk in my bedroom, but out on the front porch, where I set up a small collapsible card table and rolled out a desk chair.  There I felt like I was withdrawn from the world enough to concentrate, but still, in a way, part of the life of the street and neighborhood.  Sometimes I was happy to see people strolling by or doing yard work, and other times, when I was particularly absorbed, I felt irrationally invaded when they would look up toward the porch at me – as though a stranger had just peered into my living room windows. But I liked that tension of simultaneous connection and disconnection from the world. And, in a way, this tension is very similar to the one I feel animates poems, which are really more about desire for connection than actually finding it. We never know, after all, in the midst of writing a poem, whether there will be an audience or an individual person who is intimately reached by what we have written. All we can experience is the wish for that union of common understanding.

You can read the rest of her post here. For more information about the writing residency itself, and to apply, visit the McCullers Center website.  Never applied for a writing residency before?  Don't be shy.  The process is simple; the potential result, as Jessica shows us, is complex, unexpected, and wonderful.

--MD

Comments

Joni Rodgers said…
Profoundly true, what she says about that desire for connection. And I'm terribly jealous of this experience. What an amazing place to sleep, think and write.
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